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Diversity of Hip Hop Showcased at Penn State

The latin vibes were high at Penn State’s first Cuban Hip Hop show Friday night as rappers from all across the globe appeared to showcase the diversity of the message in music across cultures.

The event was hosted by Professor of Women’s Studies, Dr. Alyssa Garcia, in the Pollock lounge. The purpose of the show was to serve as an “eye opener” for students. In some cultures, hip hop isn’t just a style of music but a way of life, and in the United States we sometimes fail to see that.

Behind a Macbook Pro and a two channel mixer, DJ Alejandro split the ones and twos for a diverse set of rappers. However, for the first performance of student artists, the modern equipment fell to the clap of the crowd and a mix of percussion by Ronnie Burrage. Burrage, a professor in the Integrative Arts program, broke out a collection of drums and maracas to fill out the sound for the three students artists– Big Quille, ‘U’gochukwu and Drew Dubb from Atlas Soundtrack. They lit up the stage with a series of freestyle rhymes to start the night off right and prime the crowd for the artists yet to appear.

Other artists to take the mic included OG  da Arsonist, who got his start in Brooklynn, and P-Shyn, a Nigerian-American rapper. Both artists now reside in State College as students at Penn State University.

When the final act, a rap duo from Cuba, took the stage, they asked “Tu sabes Español?”, which was answered with cricket chips and some whispering. Despite the language barrier, hip hop is a way of communication that bounds borders, and energy was immediately sent through the crowd like a wave, loosening the tension of the audience. Heads began bobbing and contagious dancing broke out. The rap duo used their heartfelt lyrics and bass-heavy beats to highlight the night, bringing an unforgettable end to a week of Cuban Hip Hop.

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